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What is EGO going to do to find us other retailers, and since Home Depot has the purchasing clout to BURY almost any "boutique" product supplier they choose (which theyhave done on many occasions in the past), what does this mean for EGO's future as a company, not to mention customer support and new products for those of us who have grown to love our EGO+ products?
Lowes and Amazon would make good retailers for Ego products, in my opinion, but we'll have to wait and see an official response from Ego when the time comes.
Honestly, the first company to offer a Pole Saw and Leaf Vacuum with a METAL IMPELLER is the company that will win my future purchases and loyalty.
Until that comes to fruition, I will hold off on purchasing a second battery.
Someone could come out with an old style centrifugal blower/vacuum, but the trend is going away from that to the new turbine style units. They seem capable of moving far more air, which helps immensely when used as a blower.
Makita and Milwaukee, for example, are no longer sold at Lowes. What's interesting is you can find them at 100 different online stores that sell these brands, which means that Home Depot does not require that it be the exclusive distributor, but rather that must agree NOT to sell through Lowes. As long as I continue buying these two brands this crap will continue (and I will continue buying them because I'm already invested and they make great tools).
I'm tired of shopping at both of these stores, because it's like you're seeing exactly half of what is actually on the market. The power tool lineup as Lowes has gotten depressing: it's basically down to Dewalt and Bosch (and Bosch-related like Skil, Dremel, etc.). Bosch and Dewalt both have some great products, but the point is I like to see ALL available options just like most consumers.
When I heard that HD was the "EXCLUSIVE seller of Ego products" (which is always advertised as something positive) I became pretty hesitant about buying into their platform. Ego: why restrict yourself to one distributor? Especially one that doesn't give a damn about promoting your product? They would much rather make money through one their many in-house brands. They plan to keep you around just as long as they need to imitate your successes and avoid your failures. When they're done leeching your R&D and studying consumer buying habits toward your product, you will be pushed out.
I know it's a cutthroat industry and a tough product to get on the market especially with the HD v. Lowes war going on, and I know that you're going to have to sell through at least one of them to be successful, so I don't blame you for trying anything you've tried. It is completely unreasonable to think that Ego or any other power tool product would survive through Amazon or online retail only. People typically want to walk in a store and buy these products.
It's still very, very early in the game for cordless outdoor equipment, and it's a difficult time for conscientious consumers to make decisions. I studied the crap out of Ego, and as recently as a few weeks ago, I would have purchased every single tool in the lineup if I could afford it. However, as the summer draws nearer, I find myself shopping for a quality gas "power head" (to power both a trimmer and edger AND keep the door open for future attachments.) The lack of a bare tool 15" trimmer is also holding me back BIG TIME, but even if Ego started selling a bare tool "universal attachment ready" trimmer tomorrow, I would still be hesitant. This market is getting flooded. There are many, many unscrupulous manufacturers who will also throw out 3 different platforms with 3 different incompatible batteries who have NO intention to support those batteries long-term. They will see which ones "sticks" and sell it for an extra few years and then switch again. Even with the more scrupulous manufacturers, consumers still have a very high level of uncertainty to deal with when it comes to cordless products. I will say that Ego seems to be committed to a single battery platform, and it's one reason I chose them when I bought my first cordless blower. However, no one knows whether these tools and batteries will even last five years and whether any of these companies will survive the incoming competition.
I sincerely hope that Ego continues to maintain they're reputation and consumer support, and I hope that they come out on top over the next few years!
Given the way things look, why doesn't Ego go to Costco with a couple of sweet deals:
A complete bundle of everything that currently exists (not the 12" string trimmer) for one "killer" price.
Separate Mower, and separate or bundled versions of the other products. Maybe it starts out with a "starter" pack of the Fast charger and the 4Ah battery at some special promo price, and then the tools themselves as singles, or the different assortment bundles.
Yeah, it'll be expensive, but of the big three warehouse vendors (Costco, Sam's Club, BJ's), Costco is the most upscale. They have been the most aggressive about bringing in organic (i.e.- expensive) food products, and MANY green products (especially their cleaning products). Their upscale customer base LIKES these things, and is willing to spend BIG BUCKS to "be" green, or at least "be seen" as being green. Once they've purchased Ego products through Costco, they can still buy accessories from HD (until the contract lapses).
Costco is an incredible launch platform for many surprisingly small or new vendors. The most important thing they look for is quality product, a product / market / usage appeal that "clicks" with their upscale customers, and a rock-solid guarantee. Ego has all these things.
A Deal with Costco would only last a month or two, since they are very seasonal about their product inventories. SO THIS IS THE TIME TO GET WITH A COSTCO BUYER AND HAMMER OUT A DEAL. If Ego could have product in all Costcos during May and June (prime home improvement months at Costco) I would bet they would sell more product than has been sold by HD from the very beginning.
Plus, products found at Costco carry phenomenal "buzz". I shop at all of the big 3, but Costco always has the cleanest, the greenest, the healthiest, and the best quality products of the three, and most importantly, the most trendy and/or novel.. Plus, I love talking to anyone who will listen about the coolest stuff I found there. I would have to believe Costco would love to promote a "carbon-free" footprint for HIGH QUALITY outside yard work power tools.
This would be an opportunistic, narrow window marketing vehicle that would at least do a better job of priming the North American market with Ego products. I know the premium HD extracts (some say extorts) from their vendors. That's not how Costco operates. They are a very honorable business partner.
PLEASE DO THIS !!!
I spent a little time at HD looking at the Echo Stuff. I have to tell you, from a cosmetic perspective, they "ain't got anything" on EGO. The mower is not very well designed. each wheel has to be height adjusted, the handle is not very comfortable and the bag is a pain in the rear to get on and off. This isn't a comparison, it's nothing but a marketing battle.
In my humble opinion, EGO is winning on all fronts but the following:
Walk behind Edger
From handling the 2 mowers I find the Echo mower handle more comfy (the thin bar that has to be held on Ego mower hurts after a while). Agreed about each wheel needing height adjustment but I usually leave my mower on same height and rarely change it. I don't find the rear bag a pain but I didn't see how Ego's comes off (wasn't on in the store). Also, the mower is a 21" deck and can house 2 batteries on board if needed, and all of the Echo tools utilize brushless motors.
As I said in another post I believe the string trimmer can use Echo's PAS lineup of attachments for a lot of flexibility. Downside is it does add weight but in the end the flexibility was more important to me (it comes standard with the 4ah battery so I'll just use the 2ah battery to lighten it up a bit).
Have a great summer Nicholas.
I finally held and tested the Echo 58v tools, and I have to say they are sure going to give Ego a run for their money. Ego is going to be forced to be competitive on pricing because the look and feel of these new Echo tools scream high quality, and their prices are RIGHT in line with Ego. Their new 58v trimmer is not only attachment capable, but it feels *exactly* like their gas models.
Prise-wise, the trimmer is only $50 more than Ego's newest 15", but it includes a 4a/h battery. For $20 more than the Ego, you get the same (2a/h) battery. The hedge trimmer and blower are comparatively more expensive, but the mower and chain saw are the exact same. Plus the chain saw includes a 4a/h battery, so it's technically cheaper. Unfortunately, there aren't too many options on bare tools so it's kinda hard to do the math on buying a new set of tools (especially for us price-savy aka poor shoppers, hah)
If Echo (which is certainly a pro outdoor brand) can nearly price match Ego, Ego will have to do something to keep up, because Echo not only has a long history and good reputation, but their new cordless tools seem to be as good Ego's in every respect, and if they're not, they certainly give off that impression when you hold them for the first time.
I only own the Ego blower and an extra battery. My next purchases will be a string trimmer and then a chainsaw. When I look at the attachment-capable, insane-looking Echo for $269. I could survive with that and one battery for now. I just can't justify putting down $219 for Ego's trimmer when I don't need an extra battery and charger. It might be a different story if there were a $99 bare tool available, but this certainly is a game changer. Plus I can find a couple cheap attachments to use as an edger and pole saw.
I'm just talking out loud. I appreciate Ego for letting us discuss competitors!
Oh, I wasn't saying DON'T use Costco, just don't use them as an only source. I think the whole HD fiasco has already hurt sales for the 2nd year. I'm betting they had a banner 1st year while HD marketed them.
I still think Amazon would be their best bet right now. They've got the exposure and reviews. Keep them in a retail channel, but not limited by one.
I love Costco for one main reason. Customer Service. I don't think there is a more tolerant company in the business for returns or dealing with dissatisfied customers.
Thanks for your opinion.
so I contacted echo in regards to there "professional grade line up" I was told that power head unit will not work with pas tool accessories i called 2 separate times just to check.
Also that it is a partnership with Ryobi (Ryobi battiers and motors) echo cutting parts as in the string trimmer head.
this also explained why the blade engagements are the exact same one the 40 volt Ryobi mower and the new echo. as well they are the same blade, blade adaptor which I might add is plastic!!. basically its a new deck and 58 volts . so basically you are buying a Ryobi.
as well you will notice the blower looks pretty damn close to the roybi 40 volt. with some minor cosmetic tweaks
hrrrmmmmmm........ professional grade........ I beg to differ.
I finally got tired of my own indecision (and frustration with HD), so I went back to one of my local stores (the one that had just one mower left, in a dusty, tattered box, at the top/back of the very top 18ft shelf). On my previous trip the HD helper had told me that the lawnmower had been "yellow-slipped", and reduced to $398. In his view, since the mowers were no longer even on display, that unit would probably be there for months, with the price continuing to be slashed until finally disposed of (the purpose of "yellow-slipping", apparently).
When I went back a couple of days ago, the original sales guy was off that day, and the mower was no longer visible on the upper shelf, having been replaced with new 'LawnBoy' stock. I tracked down a young "newbie" employee, told him the story, and after continually insisting that the mower was no longer in the store, he got on the computer. Sure enough, the in-store computer system shows the lawnmower to be an "Internet Order Only" item, and THERE IS NO LONGER AN IN-STORE SKU for the item, so there was no way for him to even search store inventoryl. On top of that, without a store SKU, he couldn't even call any of the other local stores and have them check their inventories. ***NO IN-STORE SKU***. Once again I reiterated that just 2 days earlier the other employee had found one high up in the "steel", and suggested that it would probably be there for months, since they hadn't sold an EGO mower in ALL THE TIME HE HAD WORKED THERE!
At this point, an older, "seasoned" HD employee (from the yard equipment department) came to rescue this poor kid from the nasty customer who wouldn't give up), and this guy told me in a quite elevated voice that what I was looking for was the ECHO product. In my annoyance (we're both about the same age - 60), I looked at him with some disdain and told him (somewhat tersely) that it was the E-G-O product I was looking for (this time I spelled it for him). Again, but louder this time, he told me it was pronounced 'E-C-H-O', even as I pointed to the computer screen that the young guy had in front of us showing the "EGO 56-volt Lawnmower", with the product's Model number and the Internet Ordering number. The two employees looked at each other as I pointed to the screen--for the benefit of the old-timer--and he let me know in no uncertain terms that they don't sell Ego products any more. At that point both I and the young guy showed him the blower, trimmer, and other Ego items on the computer screen that are still for sale there in the store.
At this point the old guy muttered something I'd won't repeat, and said he'd go get the department manager (the guy who wasn't working on an earlier day I was there). When we found him, he smiled politely and without skipping a beat said, "yeah, I still have a pallet of four units up there somewhere. I'll get a high-lift and bring them down". By now there were quite a few employees who had joined this "animated" little bit of theater, and I followed the leader across the store to retrieve the high-lift, and stayed within feet of him as he brought down a pallet which had been shoved to the very back of the very top shelf of a completely different aisle (from the rest of the mowers). This guy was very pleasant (the old-timer had begrudgingly removed himself from the scene, after my many sincere thanks for all his help), and very talkative. He (and his wife) love the hedge trimmer and the blower, but he said that for as long as he'd been the dept manager (some number of years), he only remembered the store having sold 3 lawn mowers. He had been told by his store manager many months earlier to remove the Ego mower from the display group (but leaving the Ryobi) of all mowers for sale. It's no wonder they didn't sell any.
The good news in all this is that the remaining inventory was indeed yellow-slipped to $398, and combined with my Lowes customer status (and using my HD credit card), my additional 5% discount brought the price down to $379 (which, according to the dept manager, was either at, or below, their cost).
So the way I look at this is that I bought my $300 worth of power plant (4Ah battery + fast charger), and paid just $79 for the mower. And frankly, after putting up with so much garbage from HD this past week, both about the Ego product line, and the whole ECHO fiasco, I does my heart some good to help HD lose money (if this is indeed true).
Just one more account of WHY Ego needs a different retail partner.
I have some close contacts at TTI Goup (the owner of Ryobi, Milwaukee, and other name-brand power tools), so after reading the comment on the Ryobi-ECHO connection this morning I made a couple of calls (to TTI, Milwaukee, and a very large professional tool distribution rep). A long time (and about to retire) connection at HD told me not long ago about how HD almost single handedly turned around Milwaukee (massive purchasing contracts), and all but resurrected Ryobi (HD needs cheap, entry-level power tools). In college, I ran a local Ace Hardware store (before the days of big 'home centers'), and worked my way up through the "trades" as I worked my way through school. I was fortunate to apprentice for a number of journeyman/artisan tradesmen in a variety of construction trades (even as I studied electrical engineering), and learned my way around "good" tools, as well as what to avoid. So I was intrigued to hear the story from both TTI and my HD contact about the (necessary) coexistence of Milwaukee (my now favorite of Li-Ion "tradesman" tools) and Ryobi, and the influence that HD (the largest seller of BOTH product lines over all other vendors COMBINED, according to TTI) has on what products each company is "allowed" to focus on.
Not long after discovering Ego nearly a year ago, I approached Milwaukee (whose Lithium chemistry battery packs, chargers and tools--as TOTAL SYSTEMS--are the best, bar none--which has been born out in tests by independent product reviewers (check out 'RealToolRevus' on YouTube, as well as others), not to mention HD's own internal, private memoranda). about taking their technology "up a notch" (voltage-wise)j so that they could bring the same level of quality to cordless OPE. At the time, they weren't interested. In hindsight, this may be because cordless OPE was seen as the province of RYOBI, and even today, it's all but impossible to imagine cordless OPE that could handle the rigors of 8-12 hour daily use by professional landscape companies. Gasoline is still cheap compared to replacing $200 battery packs every 6-12 months.
The techno-gurus at TTI have very few good things to say about Ryobi quality, design, or engineering innovation, when it comes to battery-powered products. When I asked about the relationship with ECHO, it turns out that this is a marriage arranged by HD. Ryobi battery powered OPE apparently has one of the highest rates of return, defect, and damage "other than abuse / misuse" of the entire Ryobi product line, as sell as when compared to the other "better' brands produced by the TTI family of companies. Their Lithium-chemistry "SYSTEMS-LEVEL INTEGRATION" is at least a generation behind Milwaukee, and if EGO's is as good (or maybe better, IMHO) as Milwaukee, then the ECHO 58volt line will never have the life-cycle management quality of EGO (According to TTI, RYOBI's doesn't even come close to Milwaukee).
For anyone who hasn't already figured this out, the 58- vs 56-volt thing is a myth: nothing more than a marketing ploy, to make it look like ECHO has some kind of battery "edge" over EGO. If the individual cell charge/discharge cycle management and tool-to-battery data comm link is as bad as the rest of the RYOBI 40-volt OPE (again, according to their parent, TTI), then the battery life-cycle war is lost, before it has even begun.
And by the way, for high load motors like those used on mowers (the EGO runs at 600 watts, or nearly 12 amps CONTINUOUS from the EGO battery), heat buildup in the battery pack is a HUGE issue. I did my best to get a look inside the ECHO battery pack while in the store (they obviously wouldn't let me take it apart), and after comparing it to the EGO battery pack (which I DID TAKE APART [so much for my warranty]), the ECHO battery pack is a disaster waiting to happen. I can only imagine that repeated heat buildup willl eventually result in an ever-increasing percentage of unusable capacity in the pack. I'm hoping my colleague at one of the YouTube tool review sites will be able to get his hands on both an EGO and an ECHO mower, and do some in-depth testing. (Be sure to check out the review on the EGO chainsaw--remarkable real-world usage results)..
I'm disappointed that ECHO has opted to use the low end of one of the poorest quality battery-operated product lines in mainstream use today. On the other hand, this should make it easier for EGO to compete on quality, as long as they don't "dunb-down' the quality of their products just in order to compete with RYOBI. At these prices, these products aren't entry-level consumer items. they need to be seen and appreciated as PRO-SUMER at the very least, and hopefully appeal to a new category of GREEN-SUMER yard maintenance product consumers.
And nice job working the industry insiders! As soon as I started looking into the Ego battery system I knew they were on to something good. All of these "brick" style battery packs are thermal nightmares waiting to happen. The average owners might not get to see the difference, but for the ones with thick grass and lots of it, that high power draw is going to make itself known in the form of heat.
Keep up the insightful posts!
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